‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
The Rotterdammers experienced a relatively comfortable European night at De Kuip Thursday with a victory over Norwegian opposition that takes them into the group stages of the Uefa Cup. Pascal Bosschaart sent the home side on their way with an early strike, followed by a late first-half Kuyt goal, and though the visitors grabbed a goal of their own early in the second half, further strikes by Goor and Kalou secured the win for Feyenoord.
The home support saw their team make the best possible start, with a goal within a couple of minutes of referee D’Urso’s whistle. Pascal Bosschaart was the scorer, driving in an unstoppable shot from around eighteen metres.
The early strike didn’t blunt Feyenoord’s edge and Kuyt sent a shot just over then struck the bar with a header all within the first five minutes.
Yet despite the one-way traffic, coach Gullit had to wait until the stroke of half time before the home side’s lead was doubled. Castelen found Dirk Kuyt in space on the edge of the penalty area and the striker finished things off with self-assurance.
The goal put Feyenoord in the comfort zone going into the break, but the Norwegians came a-knocking within four minutes of the restart to pull back a goal through Occean.
That said, it was nothing more than a blip in an otherwise commanding home performance. As if to acknowledge that, Ruud Gullit introduced Thomas Buffel for Dirk Kuyt on the hour, shortly after Ono had sent a free kick centimetres over the bar.
The home side continued to dominate and the chances flowed like cheap wine at a wedding. On 63 Kalou got his head to a peach of a cross from Goor, but couldn’t keep his effort from slipping past the post. Then on 70 Buffel slalomed through the Odd defence and almost rounded the move off with a goal.
Gullit had brought on Ebi Smolarek for Romeo Castelen before Feyenoord grabbed a third and the Pole it was who floated over the cross that Bart Goor met with a crisp drive that had ‘back of the net’ written all over it as soon as it left the Belgian’s foot.
By the time Hossam Ghaly came into the fray for Shinji Ono ten minutes from the end Basto and Goor had both had major opportunities to extend the lead. But the chances continued to come. Smolarek might had scored when he found himself eye-to-eye with the Norwegian keeper, but couldn’t finish.
In the end it was Salomon Kalou who added his first European strike to his impressive season tally, crafting space before slotting in Feyenoord’s fourth of the night in stoppage time.
Feyenoord-Odd Grenland 4-1 (2-0)
1’ 1-0 Bosschaart
44’ 2-0 Kuyt
49’ 2-1 Occean
72’ 3-1 Goor
90’ 4-1 Kalou
Babos; Song, Saidi, Paauwe, Basto; Castelen (71’ Smolarek), Bosschaart, Ono (81’ Ghaly), Goor; Kalou, Kuyt (61’ Buffel).
Müller; Aas, Deila, Nornes, Henriksson; Fevang, Flindt Bjerg, Rambekk; Hoff (85’ Sistek), Occean, Knutsen (70’ Johnsen).
Referee: D’Urso (Eng.)